Netflix’s The Sleepover Allows Enuka Okuma to Expand Her Skill Set With a Darker Role

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Looking for a fun new movie for the entire family to enjoy? Netflix’s newest film, The Sleepover, is just the movie you had in mind. With an all-star cast that includes Malin Akerman (Watchmen, Couples Retreat), Ken Marino (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Wet Hot American Summer,) and Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Magic Mike), The Sleepover premieres Friday, August 21. It follows two siblings who discover that their seemingly normal mom (Akerman) is a former thief in witness protection. She is then forced to pull one last job, and her children must team up to rescue her over the course of one action-packed night.

Also starring in the film, as Elise, an old colleague of Akerman’s Margot, is Enuka Okuma. Known for roles on series like Rookie Blue, Impulse, and Grey’s Anatomy, Okuma steps into some new territory in The Sleepover and has a pretty epic fight scene at one point. She recently spoke to The TV Junkes about The Sleepover, as well as took a look back at some of her television career, and gave a hint as to what’s next for her.

 

The TV Junkies: What attracted you to this role and project?

Enuka Okuma: I was really glad to get the part because when I was reading the script, I was laughing out loud. It’s also a character that I don’t really get to play. I’ve played a lot of cops in my past, and so this was fun to play a darker, more mysterious character.

TTVJ: What can you share with us about Elise and who she is?

EO: She’s from Margot’s past, and she’s very single-minded in her mission. She’s very mysterious and doesn’t have a lot of time for hijinks. She wants to bring Margot back into her world, and she’ll do whatever she needs to in order to make sure that happens.

TTVJ: You go toe-to-toe with Malin Akerman in a pretty epic fight scene. What was that like to shoot? Had you ever done anything like that before?

EO: Because of playing so many cops, I had done quite a bit of stunt work. However, I hadn’t done anything like this. My character is supposed to be a martial arts expert, and she was originally supposed to repel off walls and do tons of backflips. We had to scale things down, though, and our director, Trish Sie, really wanted us to look like we were the ones fighting. That lends an authenticity to the film and she was totally right. So Malin and I worked very, very hard and it looks pretty good. It’s mostly me, except for a few punches. We made it all a lot more realistic and used stuff in the environment.

TTVJ: I may be speaking for myself, but Rookie Blue was a show that so many people were attached to. Now that you’ve been away from it for a few years, how do you kind of look back at your time on that show and that experience?

EO: That will always be one of the highlights of anything that I’ve done. It’s mostly because the group of people was just so special. I’ve been lucky enough to be with special groups of people on other series, but we still stay in touch and create things together. Adam Macdonald, who played my love interest in later seasons, is directing a film I wrote. Missy Peregrym is going to star in it. We all try to stick together and work together because we never want that to end.

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TTVJ: I remember you co-wrote an episode of Rookie Blue, and now you mention this upcoming film. Is writing something you want to keep pursuing?

EO: For sure! That episode was the first time I had ever really done anything, and I love that you remember that! [laughs] It was really special to me.

TTVJ: Can you share at all what this new film is about then?

EO: It’s called Out Come the Wolves. I might just leave it at that. It’s a cabin in the woods story, and I think you can imagine from there. It’s a horror and action film.

TTVJ: Another series you recently starred in was Impulse. I know a lot of fans were incredibly disappointed that didn’t get picked up for Season 3. What was it like for you to be a part of that show?

EO: I was so excited to see where that show, and especially my character, was going to go. If you see where my character ends up at the end of Season 2, you would demand a Season 3. It’s crazy what they ended up doing with my character. I wish we could’ve expanded the world and see where Henry, the main character, would have gone and how mine would’ve factored in. It was a small world that had the potential to be HUGE. It was disappointing when the show ended, and it wasn’t because people didn’t want it.

TTVJ: You’ve been a part of many great series both in the U.S. and in Canada. What do you especially enjoy about working on Canadian series?

EO: My husband is from Toronto and I’m from Vancouver. So there’s usually family in any city I’m shooting in. I’m really lucky because I have my feet in both ponds, but I have a lot of history with people in Canada and the crews. So going to work is like being with my other family. Often, in doing guest starring roles or new projects in the States, it’s always the beginning and first day of school. Working on something in Canada has a real sense of familiarity that helps me be comfortable and confident.

 

The Sleepover is available to stream on Netflix.